Online community lends a helping hand

January 27, 2022 BY

Support: Bendigo resident Amanda Kinross wants people stuck in COVID isolation to get the help they need using her Facebook group. Photo: SUPPLIED

A FACEBOOK group aimed at connecting people stuck in isolation because of COVID-19 is quickly gaining traction since launching almost two weeks ago.

Bendigo Isolation – Community Helpers was started by local woman Amanda Kinross and already has over 300 members.

Ms Kinross said she saw many posts from people in other public Facebook groups requesting help for a grocery run or other small jobs while completing quarantine as a positive case or close contact but thought a central online space could work best.

“For people that suddenly find themselves in isolation, they may not necessarily be prepared with shopping and things that they need,” she said.

“What I thought it would be nice to do was to get people in the community who are local to you to offer their services if they can help, like a neighbourly thing so that you can put your call out there and say ‘I haven’t got any nappies for my baby’ or ‘can anyone help by popping down to the shops for me’.

“I put out a call for another admin to join me because the group sounded so popular, people were saying ‘oh yes it sounds wonderful’ and I thought ‘oh dear I don’t know how to do this on my own’.”

Ms Kinross, who was also the mind behind the now global Parma for a Farmer initiative to raise money for drought-stricken farmers, said she expected the group to take off as more and more people come into contact with the virus.

“I would imagine that the first thing people are going to do when they get shut down is to get online and look for some sort of help, especially when you haven’t got any family or anyone nearby that you can call upon,” she said.

“The internet is so important nowadays for keeping in contact and finding out all sorts of information.

“I thought it would also benefit local businesses because there are a lot of people offering hampers and delivery services.”

Anyone is encouraged to join the group by searching Bendigo Isolation – Community Helpers on Facebook and Ms Kinross urged those needing help to make a post.

“There are a lot of people who are wanting to help but anyone who finds themselves in isolation, come forward and say where you are and say what you need,” she said.